Using any type of farming equipment, such as machines, tools or implements should not be viewed as child’s play. It is not only inexperienced people who need to exercise extreme caution when operating farming equipment, for accidents can occur in a split second to even the most knowledgeable and experienced farmers. Quite often, farmers feel so confident using machines that they no longer implement basic safety rules, and this oversight can result in them sustaining an injury. In such cases, one may say that they were in fact negligent. Research into the safety requirements for operating farming equipment has shown that accidents occur when people
Here follows some strict safety precautions that farmers and workers ought to be familiar with when operating farming equipment, such as vehicles, machines, tools, or implements:
Training – Safety begins with proper training. All persons who will be driving vehicles or operating heavy and dangerous machinery must receive proper training. When people operate dangerous and heavy machinery without the necessary knowledge and training, their chances of being injured are increased.
Manuals – Farmers and machine operators must read machinery manuals from beginning to end before operating machinery. If the person who is tasked with operating the machinery is unable to read, all instructions and safety precautions must be explained clearly to him/her. It is important that all farming equipment, tools and machines should be used responsibly and for the purpose which is was designed for.
Illness, Fatigue and Substances – No person should ever drive farm vehicles or heavy machinery, or operate tools while they feel ill or fatigued. Neither should they ever use any equipment while using medication that causes drowsiness, or while under the influence of substances such as alcohol or drugs.
Hazards – Vehicle drivers, machine operators and users of equipment should familiarise themselves with how to deal with hazards, such as electrical short-circuiting, accidentally severing wires and cords, and water or oil leakages. They must know not to smoke near some machines and equipment, as they can prove highly flammable, especially while refuelling machines, such as windrowers, cutters, tractors and other machinery that require diesel or petrol to operate. Most electrical appliances may not be operated near water and blockages should not be cleared while equipment is running.
Promoting Safety – It is advisable for machine operators to devise a “language” of hand signals to communicate with others when operating noisy machinery. People who are not involved in operating the farming equipment or tools should keep far away because they could be injured while watching others work seeing that they are distracted and unaware of flying debris, or they could even be in the way of a machine. Temporary protective structures, such as shields, screens or nets should be installed in and around areas where machines will be operating to protect the farmer and workers from flying debris. Tractors and other machines may never be overloaded, as all machinery has specific uses and limits.